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Oh I thought it was celebrated in non-Catholic denominations (maybe just certain ones). It marks the beginning of the spiritual journey to Christ's Passion and Death followed by the Resurrection which we celebrate on Easter. Lent continues for 40 days (not including Sundays) which was also the number of days that Jesus remained fasting and praying in the desert. Lent is usually a time of some self-denial, fasting, and more prayer. It's a time of penitence. The ashes on Ash Wednesday call to mind our own mortality.
Thinking back to my many days as an active Southern Baptist, I can't remember any emphasis on fasting. Mennonites, seldom if ever. But when we worked with Catholics, yes. Why do those 'non-apostolic-succession denominations' emphasize something that's quite scriptural, and the evangelicals don't?
Well my thing with fasting is, if it is truly to worship the Lord, it should be done in private with no one else's knowledge so that a person cannot boast of his "piety." Your face should be kept clean and your garments well kept so as to not bring attention to yourself etc....
Matthew 6: 1 - 6, 16 - 18 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 16 "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.